Group: Diocese Didn't Inform Public about 2 Accused Abusers

Arizona Republic
January 28, 2009

A group of priest-abuse survivors says the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix did not adequately report on two alleged sexual predators.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the diocese was too quiet about allegations against the Rev. Loren Riebe and Brother Richard Suttle.

Reports on both men were posted on the diocese Web site last year, but SNAP leaders said neither parishioners, the public nor authorities were informed.

Riebe was accused in the Los Angeles area. He worked for two years at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale and has made mission appeals at several area parishes. The diocese said no allegations were made against him in Phoenix.

Riebe currently is working in Chiapas, Mexico.

Suttle, a member of the Claretian religious order, was accused last year of engaging in sexual abuse of a minor during the 1982-83 school year at Sacred Heart School in Prescott. The report does not say how long Suttle worked there, but he was principal at the school from 2006 until the allegation was made in fall. He also spent 10 years from 1988 to 1998 at Bourgade High School in Phoenix.

The religious order removed Suttle from ministry involving minors and has restricted and monitored his movements. The diocese said no other accusations have been made against him.

Failing to do everything possible to notify parishioners and the public "is reckless and irresponsible," said SNAP leader David Clohessy. "It's the same kind of secrecy that keeps kids at risk of abuse even now."

James Dwyer, public information officer for the diocese, said the only reason SNAP knows about the two is because of the diocese's Web site postings. He said he personally e-mails the notice to all parishes and schools. Authorities are notified only if the accuser is a minor.

Clohessy said the diocese's efforts "were the bare minimum designed to spare the diocese embarrassment and possible litigation, not to inform the public."


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